We have all heard the famous quote by the poet and philosopher George Santayana “Those
who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”.Irish Huddle

Yet in the north eastern counties of this island, we like to recreate the past. We seem to revel in it. We are about to enter the marching season again. It is all too depressingly predictable. We had a taster last week with the comic opera surrounding Gerry Kelly, the PSNI and the march past St Patricks.

I, myself, tend to agree with the opinions of Jude Collins that it is a display of triumphalism and supremacy at its heart although I know readers here may disagree. Is it all about the 1690 thing where the monarchy was fought against by the planters? Is it about land? Is it about political power? Is it about commemorating the dead of War? Personally I view the deaths of many thousands of Irishmen during WW1 as a tragedy down to appalling leadership and a misguided appeal to patriotism for political ends by those who had no regard for the lives they wasted. It is right and proper to commemorate the dead but is it honest to commemorate the cause in which they died as just without properly examining the context and historical perspective?

I also find it interesting that the watchwords for Loyalists tend to be words such as “follow”, “Royal” and of course, “Loyal”. Interesting that leadership and independent thinking are absent, particularly given the protestant premium put on independence of thought, personal responsibility and rejection of central authority. I am no expert however on either loyalism or protestantism and it is perhaps unfair to mix the two. I know that republicanism is not a catholic thing any more than unionism is a protestant thing. Despite the best efforts of those who would benefit from such a link.

Indeed it was presbyterians in times past who were the most republican of all in line with their faith. They suffered as much as any catholic from the vagaries of the british establishment.

Given that only 16% of people actually want their areas bedecked in flags what’s the chances that we may get through the next few months and still be talking?

Alternatively, unlike the TUV or the DUP in Lisburn, might we have moved on by next September?